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01 May 2004

Open access publishing: A boon for scientific community

Mohd. Aqil

Med Sci Monit 2004; 10(5): LE5-5 :: ID: 11667


Dear Editor, The rapid proliferation of internet and information technology has ushered us into an era wherein an ever increasing volume of the published scientific literature is available to a scientist, to use a cliché, at the click of a mouse. The mushrooming of full text online journals has been instrumental in the development of simultaneous global access system of scientific information. Having said that, there is a need to guard against substandard, bogus and ‘me too’ publications as the same could be counter-productive and lead us to nowhere but sheer wastage of time and efforts. The authenticity and credibility of these aspiring open access journals as Mark (Med Sci Monit, 2004, 10(1): ED 1-3) has suggested could be established by their citation in indexing and abstracting services e.g. Medline, Index Medicus, Index Copernicus, EMBASE, Chemical and Biological Abstracts to name a few. The availability of the online issues of the reputed but hitherto print only journals is a welcome development. However, the online subscription costs and ‘pay per view’ fees may be given a rational thought by the concerned publishers for more often than not the high cost of their subscription and browsing acts as a barrier to their referral and invariably the younger, proactive but poor lot of scientists is envisaged to deprivation and non-availability of latest and quality information sources. Open access publications on the other hand, are available at none or negligible costs in minimum retrieval time. This medium is best suited to all concerned-the authors, readers and the publishers. It is a win-win situation for everyone. After all, whatever scientific discoveries and inventions we are breaking into, are aimed at serving the mankind in a better way. Should that be the motive, it is prudent that all the recent research in any discipline be made available to the curious and the one with scientific bent of mind at minimum cost, in minimum time and with minimum efforts. The availability of all scientific information to the general public may not be a very bright idea for everyone in the masses is not able to decipher each and every scientific write up what with complex and terminologies used all over the place. The concept of mere paying of taxes to the exchequer as the right to all the scientific information has to be reviewed simply because the information fed to the person who is least concerned would be tantamount to offering a comb to a bald fellow. Alternatively, the scientific information may be abridged and simplified for common understanding and published in daily and weekly periodicals. The diversion of publication cost towards authors to make things easier for readers/subscribers is again a case of giving something from one hand and taking it back with the other for authors and readers in essence constitute the same population. If a prospective author has to pay $1000–1500 per submission, his/her enthusiasm for getting published may take a serious beating and If quality research is held in abeyance on economic grounds, it will ultimately be the loss of the readers. The idea of commercial advertisements to generate revenues and pruning down the publications costs on the part of the authors is best in the game and a case of fair play for all the players. Online full-text journals like {Medical Science Monito bold}are doing a great service in free and uninhibited dissemination of scientific information and are a boon to scientific community by and large. The scientists in the developing countries are particularly benefited by this magnanimous approach. And it will more likely bring the best out of them.

Keywords: Access to Information, Costs and Cost Analysis, Internet, Peer Review, Research, Periodicals, Publishing - economics, Publishing - trends, Residence Characteristics, Science - trends, Access to Information, Costs and Cost Analysis, Internet, Peer Review, Research, Periodicals as Topic, Publishing - trends, Residence Characteristics, Science - trends

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Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750
Medical Science Monitor eISSN: 1643-3750